I was wondering what is the difference between "comply" and "conform". Meaning of those two verbs seem quite similar. Could you help me?

And is it okay to say "comply to someone" or "conform to someone" like "submit to someone" or "follow to someone"?


1 Answer 1


They are rather different in meaning.

"Comply" means "follow an order". You don't don't comply to a person, you comply *with an order".

He complied with my instruction to wear a mask.

"Conform", on the other hand, means being the same as other people (or another person) There might be no "rule".

He conformed with the rest of the class and wore his mask.

If there is a rule that applies to everyone, you can conform to that rule

He conformed to the mask rule.

So the main meanings are different. They can both mean "obey", but "conform" means "obey a rule that everyone has to obey", but "comply" means "obey a particular command

  • "Conform" does not necessarily apply to "with a rule", but merely just with the prevailing social custom. "In his new neighborhood, Fred observed that everybody wore a red hat on Mondays. Wishing to conform, he went out and bought one." Jan 6, 2021 at 10:16
  • Yes, "Conform" means being the same as other people (or another person)
    – James K
    Jan 6, 2021 at 10:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .